Never Saw It Coming Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst (eBook, 2008) [WorldCat.org]
skip to content
Never Saw It Coming Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst Preview this item
ClosePreview this item
Checking...

Never Saw It Coming Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst

Author: Karen A Cerulo
Publisher: Chicago University of Chicago Press Berlin Walter de Gruyter GmbH [2008]
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
People-especially Americans-are by and large optimists. They're much better at imagining best-case scenarios (I could win the lottery!) than worst-case scenarios (A hurricane could destroy my neighborhood!). This is true not just of their approach to imagining the future, but of their memories as well: people are better able to describe the best moments of their lives than they are the worst. Though there are  Read more...
Rating:

(not yet rated) 0 with reviews - Be the first.

Find a copy online

Links to this item

Find a copy in the library

&AllPage.SpinnerRetrieving; Finding libraries that hold this item...

Details

Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Karen A Cerulo
ISBN: 9780226100296 0226100294
OCLC Number: 1020502082
Accession No: (DE-599)HEB464379938 (OCoLC)1020502082
Description: 1 Online-Ressource (336 p.) 4 halftones, 8 line drawings, 4 tables
Responsibility: Karen A. Cerulo
More information:

Abstract:

People-especially Americans-are by and large optimists. They're much better at imagining best-case scenarios (I could win the lottery!) than worst-case scenarios (A hurricane could destroy my neighborhood!). This is true not just of their approach to imagining the future, but of their memories as well: people are better able to describe the best moments of their lives than they are the worst. Though there are psychological reasons for this phenomenon, Karen A.Cerulo, in Never Saw It Coming, considers instead the role of society in fostering this attitude. What kinds of communities develop this pattern of thought, which do not, and what does that say about human ability to evaluate possible outcomes of decisions and events? Cerulo takes readers to diverse realms of experience, including intimate family relationships, key transitions in our lives, the places we work and play, and the boardrooms of organizations and bureaucracies. Using interviews, surveys, artistic and fictional accounts, media reports, historical data, and official records, she illuminates one of the most common, yet least studied, of human traits-a blatant disregard for worst-case scenarios. Never Saw It Coming, therefore, will be crucial to anyone who wants to understand human attempts to picture or plan the future. "In Never Saw It Coming, Karen Cerulo argues that in American society there is a 'positive symmetry,' a tendency to focus on and exaggerate the best, the winner, the most optimistic outcome and outlook. Thus, the conceptions of the worst are underdeveloped and elided. Naturally, as she masterfully outlines, there are dramatic consequences to this characterological inability to imagine and prepare for the worst, as the failure to heed memos leading up to both the 9/11 and NASA Challenger disasters, for instance, so painfully reminded us."--Robin Wagner-Pacifici, Swarthmore College "Katrina, 9/11, and the War in Iraq-all demonstrate the costliness of failing to anticipate worst-case scenarios. Never Saw It Coming explains why it is so hard to do so: adaptive behavior hard-wired into human cognition is complemented and reinforced by cultural practices, which are in turn institutionalized in the rules and structures of formal organizations. But Karen Cerulo doesn't just diagnose the problem; she uses case studies of settings in which people effectively anticipate and deal with potential disaster to describe structural solutions to the chronic dilemmas she describes so well. Never Saw It Coming is a powerful contribution to the emerging fields of cognitive and moral sociology."--Paul DiMaggio, Princeton University ...

Reviews

User-contributed reviews
Retrieving GoodReads reviews...
Retrieving DOGObooks reviews...

Tags

Be the first.
Confirm this request

You may have already requested this item. Please select Ok if you would like to proceed with this request anyway.

Close Window

Please sign in to WorldCat 

Don't have an account? You can easily create a free account.